The Duncan Banner

January 3, 2014

Comets start off second half with rivalry game

John McKelvey
The Duncan Banner

VELMA — Velma-Alma basketball goes into its after-break opener Friday, at home against Ringling, with renewed hope.

Coach Kenny Bare thinks the improvements the team has made will show on the court for the boys and girls teams. The boys team started out 2-2 with its only two losses coming to Comanche. The girls team has the same record with losses to Comanche and Washington.

Bare wants the rivalry atmosphere of Friday’s game to serve as a jumping-off point for both squads.

“It’s the first step back into a busy month,” Bare said. “We’re ready to get back into a routine. I’m looking to see our team make steady improvements as we go. This is game one of really a new season.”

While it isn’t officially a new season, with 15 games on the January schedule, it feels like one. The long break has fed the angst to return to the court and capture more victories.

“We’re excited to get back,” Bare said. “I know the kids would rather be playing games than practicing and I’m the same way.”

Dealing with Ringling’s athleticism won’t be an easy wake-up call, though. Bare hopes his girls will be able to turn their work ethic over winter break into results.

“They showed up over Christmas break and practiced hard,” Bare said. “Our message is it’s not going to be handed to you, you’re going to have to work for it.”

As for the boys, two 20-plus point defeats to Comanche soured an otherwise promising start. Part of the problem with the Comets in those games was a result of the inexperience. Bare has three senior starters in Jaz Gayanich, Alan Beck and Connor Sullivan, but only Gayanich was a starter last year.

“I think that showed up in our first four games, was a little bit of inexperience,” Bare said. “They’ve made improvements over the last two weeks.”

In order to prepare, they have taken on higher class schools like Lone Grove and Ada. After Friday’s game, the Comets will head to the Black Diamond alongside county rival Central High.